March 4, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - Purdue pitchers worked out of jams early and often Sunday, leaving the bases loaded in three different innings to lead the Boilermakers to a 5-2 win against Charleston Southern that completed a 3-0 weekend at Auburn's four-team tournament.
Winners of eight of its first nine games, Purdue is off to its first 8-1 start since 1959. The Boilermakers have posted their eight wins against eight different teams and emerged as the champion of Auburn's tournament after also beating the host Tigers and Southern Miss this weekend.
Nick Wittgren retired five of the seven batters he faced over two innings of scoreless relief to earn his third save of the season and 15th career, tying the Purdue all-time record.
Kevin Plawecki homered for the second day in a row, leading off the sixth inning with another long ball over the 35-foot high wall in left field. Andrew Dixon drove in Purdue's first run of the day with a two-out single in the fourth inning.
Blake Mascarello put together another scoreless relief outing, his fourth in his five appearances this year. He entered the game with runners on second and third and one out in the sixth inning, and Purdue clinging to a one-run lead. He stranded the potential tying run at third base thanks to a strikeout and a fly out, and then retired the 2-3-4 portion of the CSU lineup in order in the seventh inning.
Purdue starter Calvin Gunter put together his top outing of the young season, surrendering only one earned run over 5 1/3 innings. His lone strikeout came with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning. The senior also induced a pair of ground ball double plays.
David Miller and Stephen Talbott reached base safely in back-to-back plate appearances to begin the seventh inning and both players scored insurance runs on passed balls. Talbott singled through the right side on a hit and run following Miller's leadoff walk.
Cameron Perkins, Plawecki and Talbott each had two hits on the day but the game remained tight throughout thanks in part to a quality start from CSU's Patrick Dolan (1-1). The right-hander limited Purdue to six hits in six-plus innings. He gave way to the bullpen after walking Miller to open the top of the seventh. The Boilermakers had scored a combined 29 runs in their first two Sunday weekend finales this season.
Wittgren entered the game with two on and no outs in the top of the eighth after CSU (4-7) finally got to Mascarello with a walk and base hit. Wittgren retired the first two batters he faced but a two-out error loaded the bases. The Purdue closer struck out CSU leadoff man Bobby Ison looking to end the inning. The Boilermakers finished off the win with a 5-4-3 double play in the ninth.
Purdue never trailed in the game thanks in part to some solid situational hitting. Dixon delivered the two-out single into left center in the fourth inning, plating Perkins from second base.
Twice on the day, Tyler Spillner successfully advanced Talbott to third base with a productive first out of an inning. Talbott scored in the top of the fifth on an RBI ground out off the bat of Eric Charles and scampered home on the second of the two passed balls in the seventh.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they open their eight-game spring break trip with a three-game series at Murray State. Friday's game is set for 3 p.m. ET. It will be Purdue's first traditional weekend series against the same opponent this year.